Sunday, November 21, 2010

Genius and heroism is that the right strategy for innovation?

Having a great product-to-market process with a clear strategy is fine but without a pipeline of innovative ideas it’s like an empty fuel tank. Successful companies must be continually looking to feed their innovation engine. Without a full tank the portfolio of fresh competitive products weakens, the program of continuous service improvements breaks down and the customer renewal roadmap of enhanced value or cost savings becomes tired and unconvincing.

That innovation engine needs fuel. It needs mechanisms to stimulate people’s great new product or service ideas. It needs components to capture and handle the innovative concepts. And it needs people to collaborate, empathise and contribute.

But being an innovator within a company can be risky and challenging. The demands of innovation are different than operations. Those differences start with the focus on the customer expectations and perceptions of value. They extend to recognising the key distinctions with the competition or the status quo. Often innovators may need to adopt behaviours that classic business methods would encourage staff to avoid.

So does that mean we should leave the supply of innovative just to those on the fringe?

Of the two different paths to innovation – by chance, genius and heroism or by the discipline of process institutionalised and not dependent on individuals – process wins in today’s unbelievably competitive markets. You can’t afford to squander resources…” [Source Stanton, & Associates]

Innovation workshops offer a useful, structured way to explore, survey and extract the fuel that’s essential for the growth engine. But building a sustainable and substantial fuel supply has many challenges:
  • How can we build real customer empathy and understanding to achieve accurate insight?
  • How can we integrate new ideas with our business-as-usual operations, our strategy, and with our existing key competencies?
  • How can we optimise the collaboration across our teams and even with our customers?
  • How can we avoid group think and stop the hollow affirmations of aging paradigms?
Innovation Workshop services can be setup and run as effective event based sessions to find innovative opportunities and to fuel growth.

An Innovation Workshop can be either internally focused or client facing. Typically, business teams use internal Innovation Workshops to help identify and capture new opportunities that will enhance their customer relationships or help refine and strengthen a planned product (or service) offering. Alternatively client facing Innovation Workshops are typically used as part of the ongoing program of continuous improvement infusing that extra innovation long-term customers expect from their operational and delivery suppliers.

I hope this provides at least some small contribution to help the cause of better innovation.

I’m interested in feedback and views to help achieve better product development. Please contact me to share your views and thoughts.